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Escape from Fort Bravo (1953)

Passed | | Western | 4 December 1953 (USA)
During the Civil War, a group of Confederates escapes from the Union POW camp at Fort Bravo but has to contend with the desert, the Mescalero Apaches and the pursuing Union troops.


John Sturges


Frank Fenton (screenplay), Phillip Rock (story) | 1 more credit »


Complete credited cast:
William Holden ... Capt. Roper
Eleanor Parker ... Carla Forester
John Forsythe ... Capt. John Marsh
William Demarest ... Campbell
William Campbell ... Cabot Young
Polly Bergen ... Alice Owens
Richard Anderson ... Lt. Beecher
Carl Benton Reid ... Col. Owens
John Lupton ... Bailey
Learn more

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A ruthless Union captain is renowned throughout his prison fort as the toughest soldier in the business, capable of capturing every escaped convict under his supervision. However, when he falls in love with a visiting woman some of the prisoners seize the advantage and try to escape while he is in a more "mellow" mood. Written by Jonathon Dabell <J.D.@pixie.ntu.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


M.G.M.s Great Romance Excitingly photographed in Ansco Color.




Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The film serves as inspiration for the fifth title in the Belgian comic book series Les Tuniques Bleues (The Bluecoats) by Raoul Cauvin and Willy Lambil, a graphic novel titled "Les Déserteurs" (1975) See more »


Director John Sturgess likes to dress his P.O.W officers in their dress uniforms. Common sense would dictate that a soldier is usually not wearing his dress uniform when captured and wouldn't get issued one while in prison. See more »


Cabot Young: You must have missed!
Campbell: Naw, we just killed the same one twice!
[takes aim and shoots Indian off his pony with one shot]
Campbell: See what I mean?
See more »


Referenced in Major Dundee (1965) See more »


Bendemeer's Stream
See more »

User Reviews

Vigorous and moving cavalry Western with powerful scenes , exciting action and big name actors
24 November 2016 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

A civil war era western set in Arizone stockade . During the Civil War , a group of Confederates are ruthlessly guarded by a hard-bitten cavalry officer , the pivotal role captain Roper (William Holden) . In the meantime , local Indian tribes are restive and the rebel prisoners try to getaway from captivity . Then , the rebel leader Capt. John Marsh (John Forsythe) accompanied by his underlings , the old Campbell (William Demarest) , the impetuous Young Cabot Young (William Campbell) and the coward Bailey (John Lupton) escape from the Union POW camp at Fort Bravo but has to contend with the desert , the Mescalero Indians and the pursuing Union troops . Along the way the suspect Carla Forester (Eleanor Parker) , a wedding visitor , is soon ensnared by seducing Roper from his duty . When the commander discovers what's happened , a tense hunt ensues throughout the stark outdoors , as Roper chases mercilessly his prisoners . There takes place a tense pursuit across enemy territory extremely surrounded by hostile Indians and being assailed by wave upon wave into the rugged landscape of Arizona .

It is a classic and old tale with excellent action set pieces skillfully worked , lots of action , well-executed , good performance all around and a big finish with assorted Indian parties making use of their relentless arcs and arrows . Slow-moving at the beginning , the flick works up to a breathtaking final when the group to be beset by hostile as well as unstoppable Indians . That's why there stand out the thrilling and surprising scenes when the main roles are trapped in the dangerous contours of Death Valley by hostile Mescalero Indians shooting killing arrows while attempting to get everyone back to the fort . Main and support players are frankly top-notch , delivering enjoyable interpretations from a cast headed by Holden , Forsythe and Parker . Nice acting by William Holden as hard-nosed officer and giving audiences one of their best looks . And awesome Eleanor Parker as a gorgeous Southern spy whose job is to break the Confederate prisoners out of jail . Support cast is frankly excellent , plenty of familiar faces , such as : Polly Bergen , Richard Anderson , Carl Benton Reid , John Lupton , Alex Montoya and uncredited Glenn Strange . Colorful and sunny cinematography by Robert Surtees , subsequently an expert cameraman of super-productions , this was planned to be filmed in 3D , but was eventually filmed in 2D, the first feature to employ spherical Panavision lenses . Being shot on location in Corriganville, Ray Corrigan Ranch , Simi Valley , California , Gallup, New Mexico, and Death Valley National Park , California . Atmospheric and stirring musical sore by Jeff Alexander , including some wonderful songs .

The motion picture was compelling and forcefully directed , thanks capable hands of filmmaker John Sturges . The redoubtable John demonstrates his skill and mettle here . Sturges was a warlike genre expert (Great escape , Never so few , The Eagle has landed) and Western master (Gunfight OK Corral , Last train of Gun Hill , The law and Jake Wade , Magnificent Seven). Escape from Fort Bravo rating: 7/10 , better than average . Well worth seeing , the movie will appeal to William Holden fans .

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Release Date:

4 December 1953 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Fort Bravo See more »

Filming Locations:

Rattlesnake, New Mexico, USA See more »


Box Office


$1,520,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)


Color (Anscocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

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